Every five years, a new Farm Bill is passed. What is the farm bill? One of the most significant legislations affecting food, farming, nutrition, and land-use in the United States.
The first Farm Bill was enacted after the Great Depression with the dual goals of supporting American farmers and helping them maintain their land. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008 and expires on September 30th of this year (that’s in 5 days!).
The Farm Bill programs have a strong influence on what food is available, how it is produced, food security, farmer livelihoods, and environmental consequences, as well as having notable international impacts. Together, these various initiatives significantly impact public health.
More than 60 percent of Farm Bill funding is allocated to food assistance programs. Since 2008, the food stamp program has doubled in cost to a pricy $80 billion a year, helping to feed almost 46 million Americans, or 1 out of every 7th person.